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Police detain 126 people over pro-Kurdish protest in Istanbul

(Xinhua)

10:59, September 19, 2011

ISTANBUL, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- A total of 126 people were detained by police in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul on Sunday after refusing to dismiss a pro-kurdish protest.

Earlier in the day a group of around 100 ethnic Kurds from Turkey protested the state's ongoing strikes against the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) amid a very strong police presence.

Strong police measures did not allow the group to protest in Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the group was forced into a road adjacent to the square.

Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the protesters who later gathered in front of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) offices in Istanbul after they insisted on continuing their protest in the Taksim Square.

Deputy Istanbul police chief Mehmet Altinok said 126 people had been detained during protests and that Molotov cocktails and other weapons had been confiscated.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. More than 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the PKK during the past over two decades.

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